Synagogue Equals Community Parshat Pekudei

This shabbat we read Parshat Pekudei, and the Haftarah is from the Book of Kings. The connection between the Torah and Haftarah portion is the building of the tabernacle and the first temple. The tabernacle was built in the desert by Bezalel, and the first Temple was built in Jerusalem by King Solomon. We may… Read More

Time to Plug Out Parshat Vayakhel

EFRAT, Israel — Why can’t I go on Facebook on Shabbat or text my friend? I understand that it is forbidden for me to get involved in a physical action such as bricklaying or even working an eight-hour day in the office, but what kind of work is involved in a simple text to a… Read More

The Lowly High Priest Parshat Tetzaveh

I’ve always been amazed at the complexity of the Hebrew language. One of the most profound examples is the word ga’avah, which can be translated as pride — something we all wish to possess, something we’re taught is an important sought-after trait; but ga’avah can just as easily be translated as arrogance, a repugnant trait,… Read More

My House, and His House Parshat Terumah

There is a well-known joke that is told about the Jews that I find particularly sad. The joke tells of a group of explorers who find a Jew who has been stranded on a desert island for years. As he takes them around the island and shows them how he survived, they find that he… Read More

On Gazelles and Pillars of Fire Parshat Beshalach

Traveling in Tanzania on safari, my husband pointed excitedly to a gazelle bending down in the tall grass. After a moment, I realized why he was so excited — the gazelle was standing over a wet, furry ball: a baby gazelle. Newborn gazelles are on their feet within a few days, but this calf was… Read More

Counting On Faith, Fortitude Parshat Bo

I have always been most fascinated — and confounded — by the ninth plague, the plague of darkness. How can darkness be ‘tangible,’ touchable? Yes, darkness can be oppressive, foreboding and forbidding. But darkness is not substantive; much the opposite, it is usually defined as the absence of light, a phenomenon more akin to nothingness… Read More

Living with a ‘Softened Heart’ D’var Torah - Parshat Vaera

The Torah portion Vaera describes a conflict between God and Pharaoh with Moses as God’s messenger. Moses asks Pharaoh to free the slaves. Pharaoh not only refuses, but increases the Israelites’ burden. God says to Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and for this, Pharaoh and all of the Egyptians will be punished with… Read More

How Humble Is Too Humble? Parshat Shemot

When we open the Book of Exodus this week and turn to Parshat Shemot, we find that the Israelites are suffering under the tyranny of ego. Pharaoh, a despot who believes himself to be more powerful than God — indeed, he believes that he is a god himself — has enslaved the Israelites in order… Read More

The Yoke’s On Us Parshat Vayechi

We all have received blessings at one time or another. We have certainly received compliments. Over the course of time, we learn that sometimes the compliments are clearly flattering. But occasionally, ambiguous statements are made to us, leaving us confused and unable to determine with certainty whether we are being complimented or insulted. There are… Read More

The Importance of a United Front Parshat Vayigash

It’s not always easy to get along with your brothers and sisters, especially if they are younger than you.  They disturb you when you’re trying to do your homework. They interrupt you when you’re trying to have a conversation with your friends. They tease you about all sorts of things. They mess with your belongings…. Read More